Lewis Aviation and Aerospace Students Overhaul Fleet

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The 2014 Lewis Aviation Aircraft Inspection and Test Class accomplished a daunting task.  Not only did they fulfill the FAA requirements of the classroom and lab, they also began full overhauls of the University’s training aircraft.  Four aircraft were chosen for the project ranging from a wooden winged Turner T-40, a fully aerobatic Christen Eagle, an experimental Super Cub, and a twin engine supercharged AeroCommander.  All of these aircraft were donated to the University from various benefactors.  However, given enough time and use, every airplane will begin to show wear.  Some of these engine’s and interiors had not been overhauled since donation in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.  The class was told the aircraft engines had to run and the interior and exteriors had to show significant aesthetic improvement.   Both sections of the class had to do full inspections, document the aircraft discrepancies, and repair them utilizing the aircraft’s manufacturers maintenance manuals.  Many of these discrepancies were incredibly in depth and comprehensive which took great skill and expertise.  Parts were acquired by Lewis’ full-time Aircraft Services Dept., a special thank you to them for helping us achieve our goals. These incredibly motivated students donated there own time and energy to get these aircraft up and running.   Both sections did an amazing job and the aircraft ended up looking significantly improved and fully operational.   Every Lewis student should stop by the hangar and see the condition and improvements these talented students have made.      

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Lewis’ Boeing 737, which has been an icon on campus, is included in future restoration plans.   A new class has been created to directly address these issues.  The 737 Aircraft Overhaul Class also made significant strides to reinvigorate new life into a commercial jet that was developed in the 1960’s, flown commercially by United Airlines, then retired to Lewis’ campus in 1999.  The interior has been cleaned, baggage bins reconditioned and fire-proofed.  A complex nesting system on the aircrafts electrical equipment access door was removed and structurally overhauled.  This is just the first steps in getting our 737, which is still operational after 15 years on campus, a facelift.

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Many of these students have moved on to high paying jobs in the airline, contract, business, and commercial sectors of aviation and aerospace.  If you are interested in anything aviation, I would highly encourage you to check out Lewis’ Aviation Maintenance programs as a major or a minor.  Lewis Aviation is on the cutting edge of technology and the future of this career is very, very, bright; just ask our 2014 Graduates!!!

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About R. Eric Jones

-Assistant Professor of Aviation and Transportation Studies -Director of Lewis University's Boeing 737 program -Turbine Operations Director

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